LUSAKA, Zambia, Aug 09, 2013 — Military personnel and delegates from more than 40 African nations along with representatives from North America, Europe and other international organizations gathered on the parade grounds of the Zambian Army Headquarters, Aug. 7, in Lusaka, Zambia, in an opening ceremony to signify the beginning of Exercise Africa Endeavor 2013.
Africa Endeavor is U.S. Africa Command's annual 10-day communications exercise that focuses on information sharing and interoperability between African nations.
"The purpose of this exercise is to contribute to the capacity and capability of African nations to work together," said Mark C. Storella, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia.
Africa Endeavor's primary objective is to increase the command, control and communications capacities of African nations by encouraging interoperable tactics, training and procedures, and creating documented standards that support interoperability. This allows African nations to provide critical support to the African Union and African Standby forces involved in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions.
"Success or failure often hinges on the commander's ability to exercise command and control over assigned forces," said U.S. Army Col. Andrew Cooper, deputy director of joint training, readiness and exercises, U.S. Africa Command. "Our goal is to exercise the standard communications procedures and critical communications skills developed here and validate or improve them based on what we learn over the course of the exercise."
Retired Zambian Brig. Gen. Wilson Tembo, who served as the Zambian delegation chief during Africa Endeavor 2012, stressed that the emphasis from an African standpoint during the exercise is to ensure that Africans take charge and that the U.S. personnel share and support.
"The African continent does not exist in isolation," Tembo said. "Currently, the African Union is focusing on African solutions to African problems. However, as we strive to build our communications capacities, there is no better country than the United States to share their knowledge in this regard."
Africa Endeavor will continue over the next nine days in Zambia, as African and coalition nations perfect and synchronize their communication abilities.